Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

The fellowship of open eyes

The fellowship of open eyes

I ask Kim simply, “What do you look for?”

Kim, a colleague and the subject of an earlier 8:18 post, has enthusiastically agreed to come to downtown San Antonio this evening after our event and seek scenes to photograph. She is a kindred spirit – both a believer and an artist – and often goes hunting for photos.


Having a fellow wanderer is a rare thing for both of us. So, after we parked and got out, we prayed together for the Lord to guide us, to show us what he would have us see.

As we stroll the Riverwalk, I am curious about what guides her decision-making. I ask her the question. She has a ready answer. “I look for angles, colors, patterns, details and the unexpected,” she says. It’s a great list. We decide to each find our own interpretation and compare.


Kim goes for an abstraction. I settle for the obvious.


I find an ornate mosaic rimmed by dark shrubbery. Kim notices the hues of water stains I completely overlooked.


We each are drawn to the zig-zag of a fire escape on an apartment building.


It’s Kim who finds the strand of beads dangling on a bridge. Having the better camera, I am able to make them visible.


Here, it is hard to choose. Perhaps it’s the greedy squirrel that hopped past us.

Or better yet, the small scene of sibling adventure on another bridge.

The novelist Thomas Berger once wrote, “What is art but a way of seeing.” Artists feel a connection because they view the world differently than non-artists. A street before them is not just macadam lined with buildings. It is a collection of angles and colors, patterns and details. It holds contrasts, textures, and stories – some mundane, and every so often, surprising.

But the same is true for Christians. Just as God looks beyond the external to the heart of a man (1 Sam. 16:7), we see beyond the surface of the world around us to its heart. We see what it is made for. We are not simply noticing patterns, but how the patterns reflect the Pattern-maker. We have another, deeper list to look for: what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable and excellent (Phil. 4:8).

When I find my detailed shot, I call over to Kim that this is a perfect picture of what art has done for us tonight. It has bound us in a mutual love for the beautiful around us. But it’s our mutual love for Christ that has opened our eyes.

Jesus, blind men called out to you along the road you walked, “Lord let our eyes be opened.” That is our prayer as well. Give us an ability to perceive your hand in the world around us. And give us the joy of fellowship with others who see.

Thoughts or comments on this column? I’d love to hear from you. Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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